The mastermind behind what the government says is one of the largest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes prosecuted in the US has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. While crypto scams have been getting increasingly common, Swedish citizen Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson defrauded thousands of victims and stole tens of millions of dollars over a period that lasted almost a decade. He pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud, as well as money laundering charges on March 4th.
According to the Department of Justice, Karlsson ran his fraudulent investment scheme from 2011 until he was arrested in Thailand in 2019. He targeted financially insecure individuals, such as seniors, persuading them to use cryptocurrency to purchase shares in a business he called “Eastern Metal Securities.” Based on information from court documents, he promised victims huge payouts tied to the price of gold, but the money they handed over wasn’t invested at all. It was moved to Karlsson’s personal bank accounts instead and used to purchase expensive homes and even resorts in Thailand.